Readathon Hour 11 Mini-Challenge: First Editions

Readathon Hour 11 Mini-Challenge: First Editions

Welcome to the mini-challenge for hour 11 of Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon!

Let’s talk about book editions. As a reader and book lover, you likely have at least a small book collection. Do you know how to identify the editions of your books? Unfortunately, there is not a standard way to designate editions, but here are some common ways publishers tend to do it.

1. Many publishers use a line of numerals, the lowest number of which is the edition or printing. Each of the following examples would identify a third edition book:

3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3
3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4

2. Some publishers helpfully include a line on the copyright page that directly says something like “First Edition” or “First Printing” in lieu of or in addition to the number line, like this:

First Edition
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

3. Sometimes the number line includes a date, like this example which identifies a second printing from 1995:

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 95 96 97 98 99

4. In the case of older books, one way to identify a first edition is to see whether the date on the title page matches the date on the copyright page.

Are you confused yet? How about some real examples?

Here’s my paperback copy of The Road, by Cormac McCarthy, showing a third printing:

Edition The Road

How about my copy of the ubiquitous Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert? Yep, that’s showing that it’s the thirty-ninth printing of this particular paperback edition:

Edition Eat Pray Love

Here’s my first edition copy of The Orphan Master’s Son, by Adam Johnson. Notice the “First Edition” language and the number line with a “1.”

Edition The Orphan Masters Son

Here’s my paperback copy of The Poisonwood Bible, with an example of the date and edition line, showing a 1999 first printing of this particular edition:

Edition The Poisonwood Bible

Okay, here’s my favorite, my first edition of For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway. In this case, you can tell it’s a first edition because the date on the title page matches the date on the copyright page (click to make it larger):

Edition For Whom the Bell Tolls

Whew! Let’s get to the challenge and giveaway, shall we?

Take your current readathon book, find the copyright page, and attempt to identify its edition. Bonus points for posting a picture of the copyright page on your blog or on social media, so we can see. To enter to win a $10 Amazon gift certificate, leave a comment on this post with (1) the name of the book, (2) the name of the author, and (3) information about the edition. The winner will be announced on April 27, 2014.

GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED. The winner (selected by, I swear) is the very first comment, made by Chris of Chrisbookarama! Congratulations, Chris! And thank you so much to everyone who participated in this challenge. I had so much fun seeing your books and editions.